As I sit by the pool with a thermos full of wine, I contemplate very little. With this day being my third full day in Cuba, life appears to be pretty awesome.
There is one thing, however, that pulls at my heart strings. It drags me along, temping to distract me from my peaceful and relaxing vacation: why can't everything about life be this relaxing? Why do I have to be so uptight all the time?
Throughout my entire life, I have felt like I have to "work" to get anywhere. You know, the notion that everything worth having in life doesn't come easy and that there must be some sort of struggle in order to achieve even a small amount of greatness. The notion that success only comes after hard grueling work - I used to believe that to my core. But being in Cuba, a place where life is much simpler, where life moves at a slower pace, where life here has different priorities, is opening my eyes to the possibility that it doesn't have to be this way.
I think within me there exists a worry, a fear that goes something like 'if I don't work hard to achieve something then did I actually achieved it? Am I worthy of my success? Of recognition? Of praise?' This fear poses a big problem because it exists in all areas of my life: "I'm not allowed to be confident in my body if I don't have to work hard at being healthy" or " I don't deserve to be proud of a photo I take unless the process of taking and editing it is a difficult one" or " I'm not allowed to write a book unless the writing becomes this extensive process instead of just flowing naturally". "My relationship with my husband must be too good to be true because we barely ever argue and we are always in sync".
As I sit here, bathing suit on, hair in a bun, wine in hand, I question this aforementioned notion. Why do I believe everything must be a struggle? And why has this been a part of my life up until now?
But indeed it was. Up until a few years ago, my life has been a lot about struggle. With a family who went through difficult financial times in my formative teen years, a learning disability that made my school work heavy and an anxiety disorder that ran rampant through my twenties, things didn't come so easily for me. Or so I believed. I developed this attitude that I was "average" or even "below average" at everything and I had to work my butt off to achieve anything worth merit. I was never one of those kids who didn't have to study for tests and I was made fun of a lot, so making friends was a task in itself. I never won awards in school, I was never picked for sports teams and I went around with the attitude that everything was sooo hard.
But after much coaching and counselling over the years, with immense healing and work on my confidence and my self-esteem, sitting her right now in Cuba with my wonderful husband and our two best friends by our side, next to the pool, adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, I lean back in a lounge chair and make a decision: nothing is hard, I am no longer open to struggling to achieve success. And in fact, if it doesn't come with relative ease then it's probably not meant to be in this first place. This is my own little epiphany that I think my soul already knew but has unearthed and I am allowing it to seep into my consciousness, here in this beautiful tropical paradise.
I call this the fish bowl effect. Taking a step away from your life allows you to examine it from a far - like you are looking at a fish bowl from the outside-in. When we are able to do this, our priorities, our desires and our needs become much clearer because we are able to tune out the noise of everyday life and tune into our soul's desires. This is what happened to me on this beautiful island: I took a look at my life while being away form it, and I realized what I was no longer available to. I am no longer available to things being hard, to lack of flow and ease. I am only available to things existing without struggle. It is a choice I make.
I am a successful writer, photographer, coach, a great wife, a good friend and a loving daughter and sister. And from this point on, all this comes and flows will the greatest of ease. And so it is.